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Kočner’s World

Kočner’s World

For years, Marian Kočner was one of the most wealthy and powerful businessmen in Slovakia, a man whose connections with judges and prosecutors made him virtually untouchable, and whose extravagance made him a frequent fixture in local tabloids. Today, the middle-aged businessman’s craggy face and prominent shock of black hair are mostly seen in dispatches from the courtroom he sits in day after day. Kočner is the main defendant in a high-profile trial that has gripped the country since December. He is charged with ordering the brutal murder of a young investigative journalist who had been reporting on corrupt Slovak...

Statement of investigace.cz: We protect our sources

Statement of investigace.cz: We protect our sources

At the end of October, the Czech Centre of Investigative Journalism published a recording originating from the private office of Slovakia’s former chief prosecutor Dobroslav Trnka. This recording proves that Trnka maintained a close relationship with alleged murderer Marián Kočner. Under threat of a €10 million fine, the Slovak Bureau for the Protection of Personal Data requested that Investigace.cz disclose the identity of our source. The following is our statement responding to the Bureau’s request. Today we received an official request from the Slovak Bureau for the Protection of Personal Data. They want to know who provided us with the...

The Chef’s Global Footprints

The Chef’s Global Footprints

The US government recently went after some of Prigozhin’s assets, but there’s more.  The shadowy interests of Yevgeny Prigozhin — a Russian businessman and close associate of President Vladimir Putin — have just become a little clearer. Over the past year, reporters from OCCRP’s Russian partner, Novaya Gazeta, tracked the registration details and movements of business jets linked to Prigozhin. They reveal significant Russian involvement and activity in Africa, and a mysterious trail of previously undisclosed European companies linked to Prigozhin. For example, a Prigozhin-linked jet transported a Russian military delegation to Sudan right after the April coup that unseated...

Ilya Lozovsky: Journalism does hold people accountable

Ilya Lozovsky: Journalism does hold people accountable

Ilya Lozovsky and Miranda Patrucic, two editors at OCCRP, came to Prague with the intention of staying for one night to work on a barely-begun investigation with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty into a Kyrgyz money laundering scheme. Then they stayed for over two weeks. After the project’s main source was killed, they realized they needed to complete the big investigation and publish it as soon as possible. What is the role of an editor in life-or-death situations for journalists, and how do they deal with threats, intimidations or the killing of sources? Managing Editor of OCCRP Ilya Lozovsky talked to us...

What’s wrong with Huawei?!

What’s wrong with Huawei?!

Huawei is at the center of heated political debate around the world. There is a general assumption among experts on China, ICT (Information and Communications Technology) experts and politicians that the company uses its ICT devices to spy on its users and provide this data to Chinese government. Though there have been separate cases of Huawei breaches of consumer trust, however, no one has ever came up with bullet proof evidence of systematic abuse of Huawei devices. Huawei highlights that unlike in the case of the USA and its NASA scandal, no surveillance and listening to European politicians has ever been proven....

Exit the Dragon

Exit the Dragon

Early in the morning on January 8th, agents of the Polish Internal Security Agency entered the homes of Piotr D. and Wejing W. The former, who used to work in special services, was a manager at Orange, a telecommunications company. The latter was the head of sales at Poland’s Huawei’s office. They were charged with acts of espionage for China and jailed for three months. They are currently facing ten years in prison. The decision to detain them was unprecedented. Never before had a Chinese citizen been detained in Poland on espionage charges. The services had paid little attention to...